Sunday October 14, 2012
ART OF HEALING
By DR AMIR FARID ISHAK
Good sexual health is a very important part of most people’s general wellbeing.
IT was reported recently in the Durex Sex Survey that Malaysian women are the third most unfaithful in the world.
A whopping 39% of our women confessed to being unfaithful, behind only Ghanaian (62%) and Thai (59%) women. Even the Russians (33%) and Singaporeans (19%) are more faithful.
The same survey also reported that Singaporean and Hong Kong men are the most promiscuous in Asia, with an average of 16 bed partners in their lifetime.
Malaysian men have sexual relations with an average of only three women, which is way down the list.
Just a decade ago, Hong Kong and Singaporean men were among the least sexually active in the region, but something drastic must have happened since then.
If we are to believe these statistics, we have a situation here where the women are having affairs, and the men are most likely busy watching football.
One major reason why women would be unfaithful is sexual frustration. In general, women are reluctant to vent out their frustration to their doctors, so whatever we hear is actually only the tip of the iceberg.
For every woman who shares her frustration, there are probably another nine suffering silently. Or, for every woman who confronts her husband or partner about it, another nine just find the satisfaction elsewhere!
We know that poor health, especially being diabetic and/or having heart disease, correlates with poor sexual function in men. We also know that Malaysian men are generally unhealthy.
Heart disease is the top killer, and 15% of our adults are diabetic. Over 75% of men over 40 have one or more of these problems – obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol and central obesity. Over 50% of our men smoke, while most (men and women) also do not exercise enough.
As a result, a high proportion of our men cannot satisfy their partners. Many have erectile dysfunction (inability to achieve and sustain penile erection for satisfactory sex) because of their poor health.
Fortunately, in the last 15 years or so, these men can rely on drugs to help them achieve erections. Those who can afford it can even go for shock-wave therapy to reverse their impotence. But the drugs do not work all the time, and can be expensive for the poorer guys.
In order to have satisfactory sexual function, men have to be physically fit, and have healthy levels of sex hormones. To be fit is not a necessity for women to have sexual satisfaction (although it is desirable), but she also needs healthy levels of hormones.
Sexual satisfaction and fulfillment go beyond just erections and penetrative sex. There are many other aspects of sex that ought to be mastered by partners if they want a really satisfying sex life. It is beyond the scope of this article to describe in detail what these are, as it may not be appropriate for some readers who are too young. However, I will discuss some, which are more general in nature, that will be helpful to all.
For many years, women were taught to do the Kegel exercise (tightening of pelvic floor muscles) to help prevent uterine and vaginal prolapse, prevent urinary incontinence, and improve their sex life.
The benefit of regular tightening of the vaginal muscles in improving the enjoyment of penetrative sex is immense, especially for women who have given birth vaginally, as each delivery is bound to loosen the vagina.
The exercise is simple and can be done anywhere, anytime, whether you’re standing, sitting or lying down.
If you do not know what the Kegel exercise is, you can try now – just tighten the muscles around your anus and urethra (urine outlet), and keep it tightened for a count to five. Release for a few seconds and repeat.
Do this at least 10 times per session. You can do as many sessions in a day as you want. As you get used to it, you can also increase the number of repetitions up to 60 per session.
In recent years, there has been more understanding about the benefits of Kegel exercises for men. Studies have shown that after doing Kegel exercises for three to six months, 40% of men with erectile dysfunction reversed their problem, 35% had some improvement, while 25% did not report any improvement.
This is a significant result that men should not ignore – that for good erections, their exercise regime should also include the pelvic floor muscles.
Just as in women, Kegel exercises also improves urinary incontinence in men
They also help men improve on premature ejaculation, reduce symptoms of prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate gland), and help them recover from the problems associated with prostate surgery (for prostate enlargement or cancer).
Prostatectomies (surgical removal of the prostate gland) due to cancer are becoming more common among men as our life expectancy increases. A prostatectomy commonly causes erectile dysfunction, and Kegel exercises after surgery have been shown to be effective in improving, or even reversing it.
If you practise the Kegel exercise at least twice daily, you can expect to feel the results in about four to six weeks. For faster results, there is an electrical machine that can induce the pelvic muscle contractions.
If you are undergoing pelvic, urinary or prostate surgery, it is best to do the exercise diligently before the operation so that you start with stronger muscles. After the surgery, it would be wise to rest for at least four weeks before starting your Kegel exercise.
Many men and women do not achieve orgasm. While all men would have experienced it, at least when they are young and healthy, there are many women who have never experienced it, and therefore, do not know what it is all about.
For men, the sexual encounter usually does not end until he achieves orgasm, which means ejaculation. The problem for most is that it comes too soon because of premature ejaculation, or it fizzles out because of a poor erection or poor health.
And more often than not, he leaves his partner frustrated.
However, it is entirely different for women. They are usually disappointed because the encounter is not long enough for them to be sufficiently aroused. It takes longer, sustained stimulation for women to reach their climax, which is also expressed in a blast of pelvic and body muscle contractions, which last much longer than the few seconds of male orgasm, and may even be repeated in rapid succession, unlike the men who go “dead” for anywhere between five minutes to one week before he can have the next erection and orgasm.
Those who have experienced orgasm, and then are deprived of it because of aborted sex (ie the encounter ends before he or she climaxes, for whatever reason) become frustrated.
Now you can understand why there are so many frustrated men and women walking on our streets.
There are many ways to achieve orgasm, and indeed, the techniques are more important than the size of the penis when it comes to satisfying sex, although size still matters!
Why sex is important
Apart from the many health benefits of the sexual act, the main biological purpose is, of course, procreation and continuation of the species. Indeed, in animals, this is the only purpose, and in many species, sex occurs only during limited periods of “oestrus” in the female (ie when they are fertile).
In several species, the males die or are killed by the mates immediately after copulation.
Humans are the only species that engage in sex perennially, most of the time outside the female’s fertile days.
In fact, we have contraceptives to allow sex without having to worry about procreation, and women continue to have sex after the reproductive age (menopause).
Note that men may continue to be fertile even after andropause (male menopause, defined as having very low testosterone), provided they can achieve erection and ejaculate.
While sex is arguably the highest desire of our animal instinct, it is not devoid of its religious and spiritual values. Kings and presidents have sacrificed their positions for women and sex, so you can surmise how important sex is. If playing golf takes precedence over sex, then the human species is at risk of decimation. And with so many of my friends becoming hooked on golf, I am beginning to get worried!
Sex between married partners is not at all “dirty” in religion. That is why, there are many hadiths (records of the teachings) of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) on sexual etiquette, and even a reminder to men that it is their duty to make sure that their wives are sexually satisfied.
Perhaps the most famous religious treatise on sex is the Kamasutra, which is an extensive manual in the context of a religious/spiritual life imbued with love, family life, virtuous living, and appreciating carnal and worldly pleasures in gratitude and as a form of worship.
A healthy sexual relationship helps keep the marriage happy and stable, and therefore, the family secure.
Workshop on sexual health
To help improve the sexual health of Malaysians, we have to start by educating the doctors, who many patients consider as their advisers and experts. If the doctors themselves are not knowledgeable, then their ability to advise is limited.
My anti-ageing and sexology mentor, Dr Nick Delgado of the US, has agreed to come and conduct an advanced Workshop on Sexual Health in Kuala Lumpur on Dec 2 (Sunday). Dr Delgado is a researcher and expert on anti-ageing, fitness, hormones and sexual health. He has written 10 books on these subjects.
The workshop is only for medical doctors, and will include subjects and techniques that I dare not even mention here. So if you want to benefit, send your doctor to the workshop!
For details, please call 012-5387311 or 03-79873399, or email to email@example.com
Dr Amir Farid Isahak is a medical specialist who practises holistic, aesthetic and anti-ageing medicine. He is a qigong master and founder of SuperQigong. For further information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The views expressed are those of the writer and readers are advised to always consult expert advice before undertaking any changes to their lifestyles. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to the content appearing in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.